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Friday, 04 June 2021 07:59

In Memoriam: Prof. R. P. Mishra (1930–2021)

One of India's pioneers in Regional Science, Prof. R. P. Mishra (1930–2021), has passed away

Dr. (Prof.) Rameshwar Prasad Mishra (1930–2021), popularly known as R. P. Mishra, was a notable Indian regional scientist who contributed immensely to the development of regional science in the second half of the last century in India. Prof. Mishra was born in British India, had a double master's degree both in geography and economics, and did his doctoral research at the University of Maryland and was a Fulbright fellow. He along with G.S.Ghosal, and C.R.Pathak provided the second-generation leadership for the development of Indian Geography. He had got the distinct opportunity to do their higher studies in the united states when the discipline had been undergoing through a paradigm shift under the influence of Richard Hartshorne. He, however, could not remain isolated from the changes that the discipline had been undergoing on the account of the positivist-led quantification. His contribution in the early phase of independent India's economic planning with close contact with the Planning Commission of India and other administrative levels made the foundation of the solid economic trajectory of contemporary India. Moreover, His books ‘Regional Planning: Concepts, Techniques, Policies, and Case Studies (1992), Local Level Planning and Development (1998) are the classic textbooks for graduate students in India, inspired many young minds to follow the path of regional planning. Prof. Mishra’s early writings have significantly emphasized the importance of central places and growth poles in the spatial diffusion of development, and as a strategy for the reduction of mass poverty in India. He was also the pioneer to link up the strategy of environmental planning with regional economic planning considering the overall sustainability of the natural environment in the early twentieth century. He also restructured the growth pole theory, especially for newly independent counties in Asia during 1970-80. But, unfortunately, most of his works are now not available in digital forms, and outside India, he is relatively unknown. Apart from his academic contribution, he had a firm belief in Gandhian philosophy, therefore, wrote several books in this area to disseminate his doctrine.

Prof. Mishra was awarded by Bhoogol Ratna (the highest award in the field of Geography in India given by the National Association of Geographers, India); Lifetime Achievement award by the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council; the first recipient of the prestigious National Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship and the Scholarly Achievement Award by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Tokyo in 1992. Prof. Mishra worked as Vice-Director, United Nations Center for Regional Development (UNCRD), Nagoya Japan. Between 1984 to 87, he served as Vice-Chancellor of Allahabad University. He was also founding director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the University of Mysore where he closely worked with resource persons from Israel in the diffusion of agricultural technology in India. Finally, Prof. Mishra was always remembered for his wisdom, scholarship and dedication for the expansion of regional science in India.

On the behalf of Regional Science Association, India

Manoranjan Ghosh and Hemant Kumar

RP Mishra         R P Mishra 2

Figure 1: Prof. R. P. Mishra (setting in the extreme right) with international delegations

(Source: http://profrpmishra.com/)

       

Figure 2: Prof. R. P. Mihsra with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

(Source: http://profrpmishra.com/)

 

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